I was two weeks into my job at an intelligence agency on September 11, 2001 when the world suddenly changed. The job I had been hired to do disappeared. I had a computer science degree; I came from a world of 1s and 0s, not people, families, and interpersonal dynamics.
Risky career moves, what-was-I-thinking relationships, and just about every '80s fashion trend-most of us have made bad decisions in our lives. And while we're supposed to learn from our mistakes, living with the outcome of a bad decision doesn't necessarily mean that we're immune to repeating it. (See: recent '80s fashion revival.)
The gist: Stress is like kryptonite for good decision-making. But there are three things you can do to minimize its effect when you need to make smart choices. Mile 21. That's the point in every marathon where I ask myself, "Why am I doing this? This is dumb."